Snow Day Pot Pie

There was no school today in our town. Or in a bunch of towns on the east coast, frankly. A heck of a storm has got everyone snowed in or iced in. We’re looking at about 7 or 8 inches of snow, and more “wintry mix” is on the way tonight. A real bonus for us was that we learned of our snow day last night–no setting the alarm clock. Luxury!

My husband often works from home, so I was grateful that he was safe here with us, even if he had to work. The kids were thrilled to sleep late, work on Valentines, play computer games and watch TV. I was happy for time to catch up on laundry, wear my pajamas (which I’m still wearing, by the way), and cook a little.

I had a bunch of chicken tenderloins in the fridge that I needed to cook, so I cooked them all in a skillet and used them for two different meals. I put some chicken chili in the crock pot for tomorrow, and for tonight’s dinner, I made Chicken Pot Pie.

The “stuff” or filling of the pie includes cream of chicken soup, sour cream, frozen mixed veggies, chicken pieces, and basil. For me, though, the topping was the fun part.

smallcircles

When I was growing up, my Mom used to make Pork Chop Pie, which was a wonderful, hearty dish that included pork chops, veggies, and cream- of- whatever- was – in -the- cabinet- soup. Say what you want about canned soup, but it tastes great, and you can make a million different things with it. My siblings and I probably would’ve croaked if that stuff wasn’t invented. Anyway, my favorite part of the Pork Chop Pie was the tiny biscuits Mom used to put on top for a crust. I’m pretty sure they were made with Bisquick, which is what I used to make mine today, but I also know without a doubt that Mom could make biscuits out of flour and practically nothing else. The woman has skills, people.

So today I used the last of the Bisquick to make my own tiny biscuits. They met my expectations. I thoroughly enjoyed my pie with a glass of Riesling and the fond memories of my Mom’s delicious cooking, and how we all (7 OF US) enjoyed it around a small wooden table made by my Dad. I remembered how, being the youngest, I always had to sit way in the corner between the wall and the table in our kitchen on Leslie Lane in Richmond, VA. This meant that if I had to get up (which wasn’t really allowed), I had to crawl under the table past people’s knees and work my way out. Another fond biscuit memory from that table was this:

chixpotpieWe often had bread with our meals–rolls, biscuits, cornbread. Many times we had those canned biscuits that Mom smacked on the counter to get them open. There were 10 biscuits in there, and there were 7 people in our family. This meant that SOME people, who shall remain nameless, would open one eye during the blessing to try and snatch one of the extras. I never had any luck, being the youngest, so now I’m a bit biscuit-greedy, I’m afraid. Oh well.

It has been a great snow day. My belly was warmed by those tiny biscuits, and my heart was warmed by the memories they brought. I got an extra dose of cheer from our neighbors, who came to help us (and others) as we shoveled our driveway and walk to make room for more snow.

supperI find it comforting that the happy things I remember from my childhood were not grandiose or expensive. They were as simple as tiny biscuits and a handmade table. It’s encouraging to me as a parent. Tiny things make a difference to kids, and to grown-ups. Tiny things can make big memories.

What tiny thing has brought you joy?

 

Before You Know It

Hello, Strangers! It feels that way kind of–not writing about pies in a long time. Tonight, though, it was this pie plate that brought me back:

emtpyburgerpie

 

It’s the empty dish after a yummy supper of Cheeseburger Pie. It’s an easy old recipe that’s been on the back of the Bisquick box for years. Here’s what you do:

Brown a pound of ground beef (I guess you could use ground turkey if you do that) with some chopped onion.

Spray a 9 inch pie plate with non-stick spray. Dump the cooked meat in there.

Add cheddar cheese–or whatever cheese. I used a cup of white cheddar.

Mix together 2 eggs, 1/2 cup Bisquick, some salt, and a cup of milk. Dump it on top of the meat and cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

It works every time and everyone in my family ate it.

What really got me tonight was the empty plate.

As I was putting it in the dishwasher, I thought, “Well, shoot. I could’ve taken a picture of that pie. Or a slice. Or something. Should I have written something? Oh well–gone too fast.”

It was too late.

The chance was gone.

So I photographed the empty plate and sat right down, convicted by the lesson it taught me.

Just this afternoon, I was telling someone I know–someone who was a little discouraged–that they should look at this day as a gift. Even if it’s not what you planned, it’s still a gift. And I was saying it to myself, too, because before you know it, the plate’s already empty. The chance is gone. The day is over.

I want to ask myself each day, “What did I do to show appreciation for this day?”

And how many days have I forgotten to be thankful because I was annoyed or irritated or busy or grumpy or complaining or something else that just didn’t matter? Too many.

Everybody says it’s so important to plan things in life. And I guess it is, but remember the old saying,

Life is what happens when we’re busy making other plans.

So if you, like me, are saying to yourself, “Everything will be great when….”

When I get the job

When we get the house

When we go on that trip

When they graduate

When we pay that off

When I finish this work

If you’re saying some of that stuff, be warned. Today will be gone before you know it.

So instead, make different plans.

Plan to notice all the stuff you’ve been missing. Plan to really taste the pie and say, “MMMMMM” way too loud. Plan to remember exactly what someone’s laugh sounds like. Plan to sit closer to people you’ve been sitting far from. Plan to say thank you. Plan to look people in the eyes long enough to see what color their eyes are. Plan to boost someone’s self-esteem. Plan to look out the window and keep looking till you see birds and squirrels. Plan to hold hands with someone. Ask someone to tell you a story you’ve already heard, but you know they love to tell it. Plan to hug someone long enough to feel their heartbeat. Plan to sing. Plan to live in the RIGHT NOW.

Because it’s a gift. This day. This moment. It’ll be gone before you know it!